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Q: We’ve recently had a new website designed for our financial services group. We’d like to find out why people come to our site, so we can develop the site to better meet people’s needs. Would a site search facility be a good way to do this?

Overall, we’d also like to market ourselves more effectively online, and win more sales leads.

How should we go about this?

Marketing Manager
Financial Services Group

A: Yesterday we looked at how keyword research will offer a solid knowledge platform from which to promote your financial services web site.

You can further develop your site by installing a good website metrics package, such as Google Analytics

Google Analytics is free, and it provides a wealth of reports.

It can not only tell you the basics, such as how many visitors your website had this month, or how many pages your visitors read.

It can reveal which keywords people are using to find your site.

This is valuable information that will further support your initial keyword research.

For example, you can start building more and better web pages based on the keywords that people are using to find you. Instead of having one page on an obviously popular search term, you can build a suite of pages around the topic and thereby strengthen your hold on that keyword.

Gradually the search engines will recognise your site as an authority on that keyword and reward you accordingly, with higher rankings and more visitors.

You can help this process along by installing a site map.

I suggest this as search engine spiders don’t search all your site at once. They keep returning and gradually build up a picture, which is one of the reasons that it takes so long to get your pages properly indexed and ranked. Spiders can be slow, as they have millions of other sites to spider too.

A site map helps the spider quickly map out your site, and identify new pages.

Google offer a free site map, which your can submit to Google every time you add a new page.

In this way you get your pages indexed more quickly, and the spider will learn your update habits and come round more often if you regularly update.

Keyword knowledge of your market niches that you develop will allow you to develop into other areas such as Google Adwords, or ecasting (emailshots)

A lot of people try Adwords, but don’t do as well they expect because they aren’t focussing on the right keywords, and so are spending advertising budget on the wrong type of customers. Or maybe they’re advertising in too broad a market instead of hitting on the productive niches that keyword research should reveal.

Most the promotional ideas I’ve suggested over the last two days are free or cost very little. There’s lots of room for people with new websites to come into the marketplace and win a place for themselves if they’re prepared to work at it.

And while there are faster avenues such as web advertising and ecasting, the work you put in to develop a better website that offers a better more useful user experience will pay off in the medium to long term with free traffic that the search engines will send to you. What could be better than that?

© Studio Rossiter 2006

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